Prescriptive Memories in Grief and Loss : The Art of Dreamscaping book cover
1st Edition

Prescriptive Memories in Grief and Loss
The Art of Dreamscaping

ISBN 9781138043411
Published January 7, 2019 by Routledge
240 Pages - 27 Color & 11 B/W Illustrations

SAVE ~ $11.59
was $57.95
USD $46.36

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Prescriptive Memories in Grief and Loss: The Art of Dreamscaping introduces a wide range of therapists to a novel, strengths-based and imaginal practice for helping clients at various points on the grief and loss continuum. Grounded in recent empirical research on how the emotional brain encodes new memories, this book describes how to create a resource-rich "prescriptive memory." Chapters by internationally recognized authors explore the theory and application of dreamscaping from a transdisciplinary perspective, including protocols for use with individuals and groups and guidelines for collaboration with other therapists and professionals. Illustrated with full-color dreamscape images co-created by clients and therapists, this is an exciting and innovative guidebook to a new method for cultivating hope and promoting restoration and growth.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments. List of Images. List of Tables. Series Editor's Foreword, Robert A. Neimeyer. Prologue, John R. Jordan I. Theoretical Framework 1. The First Dreamscape, Nancy Gershman and Barbara E. Thompson 2. Therapies of the Imagination, Barbara E. Thompson 3. Elicitation of Humor, Positive Emotion and Play in Dreamscaping, Nancy Gershman and Barbara E. Thompson 4. From Prescriptive Memory to Tangible Dreamscape, Nancy Gershman and Barbara E. Thompson 5. Memory Reconsolidation and Art Therapy: Prescriptive Memory Conditions, Noah Hass-Cohen II. Implementation 6. Early Intervention Dreamscaping at End of Life, Nancy Gershman and Barbara E. Thompson 7. Dreamscaping with the Bereaved, Nancy Gershman and Barbara E. Thompson III. 1:1 Dreamscaping 8. An Art Therapist’s Experience with Dreamscaping, Sharon Strouse 9. Dreamscaping as Meaning Reconstruction: Recovering a Father from the Shadow of Suicide, Robert A. Neimeyer and Jo Neimeyer 10. Traumatic Loss and Dreamscaping, Sharon Strouse IV. Therapist Collaborations 11. Dreamscaping a Revitalized Self, Phyllis Kosminsky 12. Prescriptive Memories Springing from a Parallel Process of Creation, Bonnie Mark and Angelique Poisson V. Group Dreamscaping 13. Dreamscaping with Pairs in a Group Setting: A Dance of Co-Creation, Sharon Strouse 14. Enshrining Prescriptive Memory, Lisa Ruth Mitchell VI. Future Directions 15. Dreamscaping and Empirical Research, Lauren J. Breen 16. Dreamscaping: An Invitation, Nancy Gershman. Appendices Appendix A-1: Sequence for Phase One of 1:1 Dreamscaping, Nancy Gershman Appendix A-2: Sequence for Phase Two of 1:1 Dreamscaping, Nancy Gershman Appendix B: Protocol and Guidelines for 1:1 Dreamscaping, Nancy Gershman, Barbara E. Thompson and Sharon Strouse Appendix C: Protocol and Guidelines for Dreamscaping with Pairs in a Group Setting, Sharon Strouse and Nancy Gershman  About Nancy Gershman and Barbara E. Thompson. About the Contributors. Name Index. Subject Index.

View More



Nancy Gershman is a memory artist and the developer of dreamscaping, an imaginal and photo-based practice for working with people contending with the loss of self, a person, place, or thing. She presents and provides training internationally on the practice. Since 2013, Gershman has been the host of Death Café New York City.

Barbara E. Thompson, OTD, LCSW, is a professor of occupational therapy at The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, where she also maintains a private psychotherapy practice. She previously edited Grief and the Expressive Arts: Practices for Creating Meaning with Robert Neimeyer.

Featured Author Profiles

Author - Nancy  Gershman

Nancy Gershman

Memory artist, Visiting Nurse Service of NY
New York, New York, United States

Learn more about Nancy Gershman »


"Dreamscaping is an incredible new tool that destigmatizes magical thinking and infuses new energy into restorative retelling and continuing bonds theories. Each riveting case study beautifully illustrates—in color dreamscapes, especially—how co-creating ‘a picture of a memory your client wished they'd had’ complements and expands approaches used in talk and expressive therapies. If you plumb the depths of loss with clients, this approach gets results."

—Sandra L. Bertman, PhD, FT, author of Grief and the Healing Arts: Creativity as Therapy

"In this wonderful collaboration, Nancy Gershman and Barbara E. Thompson beautifully describe an exciting new approach for working with people nearing death or confronting the challenges of significant loss. As a psychiatrist who has spent his career working in palliative care, I consider Prescriptive Memories in Grief and Loss a very welcome gift."

—Harvey Max Chochinov, OC, MD, PhD, FRCPC, author of Dignity Therapy: Final Words for Final Days and distinguished professor of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba   

"The fastest, deepest way to heal emotional pain is to speak the language of the emotional brain, using imagery and metaphors that evoke preferred feelings and memories of those we hold dear. Dreamscaping not only makes this simple but is an uplifting and enjoyable way to reconsolidate painful memories, create continuing bonds, and discover enduring love and peace beyond grief."

—Courtney Armstrong, LPC, MHSP, author of Transforming Traumatic Grief and The Therapeutic "Aha": 10 Strategies for Getting Your Clients Unstuck

"Finally, and long overdue—an array of techniques to use for capturing the positive memories of grieving clients. Nancy Gershman and Barbara E. Thompson's Prescriptive Memories in Grief and Loss: The Art of Dreamscaping will not only be a treasured book in my library, but dreamscaping will become an active part of my practice. It is a great gift not only to therapists but to all those they counsel."

—Kenneth J. Doka, PhD, senior consultant at the Hospice Foundation of America

"How refreshing to come upon this creative and compassionate guide for grief counselors and therapists! Discover how artful dreamscaping can enable grievers to find release from gripping negative aspects of loss, regain access to eclipsed precious memories and other gifts of love they still hold within, and craft new life-affirming images to carry with them as they live into the next chapters of their lives."

—Thomas Attig, PhD, author of How We Grieve: Relearning the World

"Who wouldn’t want a chance to reimagine and rework troublesome and unresolved memories or relationships? Dreamscaping is a novel, photo-based technique for strengthening our clients’ most fragile internal constructs. This positive approach offers an effective way to reclaim damaging experiences involving significant others in our lives, present or past, for long-term healing and emotional growth."

—Barry M. Cohen, MA, ATR-BC, coauthor of Managing Traumatic Stress Through Art and founder/director of the Expressive Therapies Summit

"Let’s cut to the chase. Dreamscaping goes to the core of grief counseling and grief therapy. Its innovative approach engages us in meaning-making, reframes the distress felt over irreparable loss, and helps us construct mental representations of the deceased that evoke solace rather than the pangs of grief."

—David Balk, PhD, book review editor of Death Studies and author of Dealing with Dying, Death, and Grief During Adolescence

"By re-visioning old scenarios and asking questions that have never been asked before, dreamscaping shines a new light on past events, allowing different meanings to emerge, be examined, and changed. It gave me a new way of thinking about painful deaths in my own life. By extending reality, it reassured me of all the moments that were good and true."

—Peggy Papp, LCSW, senior faculty with the Ackerman Institute for the Family

"This inspiring book depicts a hopeful collaboration between therapist and the bereaved or dying, creatively transforming haunting memories into healing and bridging the gap between loving and loss. By producing a tangible artifact, the process of dreamscaping evokes the wisdom of creative imagination to loosen the shackles of brute facts. This book will be of immediate practical use to experienced psychotherapists, counseling students, and other health professionals."

—Greg Madison, PhD, psychologist and author of Theory and Practice of Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy and The End of Belonging

"By exploring and following felt experiences, imagery, and the grieving person’s know-how, dreamscaping adds tangible textures to my way of companioning grieving people. With a focus on heartfelt and embodied expressions of what once was and still is, this book invites me to creatively expand my approach to work in the liminal spaces of life, death, and being human. The implied has another way to be seen."

—Greg Roberts, PhD, founder/director of Grief & Trauma Support, Victoria, Australia

"Dreamscaping’s methodology of collaboratively reworking family photos with clients is a very successful tool for helping them heal from emotional pain caused by grief, bereavement, eating disorders, family shunning, and other upsetting issues. In this excellent book, readers will learn how (and why!) these pictures can be so useful for helping people resolve complex grief, bolster resilience, increase self-compassion and mend relationships!"

—Judy Weiser, RPsych, ATR, author of PhotoTherapy Techniques: Exploring the Secrets of Personal Snapshots and Family Albums

"Kudos to Nancy Gershman, Barbara E. Thompson, and their confrères for this excellent introduction to the innovative art of dreamscaping. Memory is malleable, and through theoretical discussions, fascinating case examples, and detailed protocols the authors show how clients can be assisted to co-create evocative pictures that will help yield greater peace, happiness, and health. Well done!"

—Michael F. Hoyt, PhD, author of Brief Therapy and Beyond: Stories, Language, Love, Hope, and Time